The Denver Board of Education has chosen the Chicago-based Alma Advisory Group to lead the district’s search for its next superintendent, whom they plan to have chosen in time for the beginning of the next school year.
The company’s CEO, Monica Santana Rosen, said she’s committed to a transparent process that prioritizes input from students, families, staff and community leaders.
“In addition to being the founder of Alma, I am the daughter of immigrants, and I was raised in a family that highly valued education,” Santana Rosen said Friday.
“Therefore, it's my mission to help school systems like Denver Public Schools attract, engage and inspire the staff and leaders needed to truly meet the needs of all students.”
Former superintendent Susana Cordova left the position at the end of December. Dwight Jones has served as interim superintendent since Cordova’s departure.
Denver Public Schools spokeswoman Winna MacLaren said the board plans to name a new superintendent by June.
She said the current phase of the search will include recruiting and screening candidates with input from the community, and the third phase will include meeting with final candidates, doing interviews and choosing a finalist.
The first phase of the board’s search involved putting together a “narrative” to describe the superintendent job and choosing a firm to find candidates.
Board President Carrie Olson said the board is still finalizing the cost of the contract with Alma, but said the company submitted a proposal capped at $75,000 for the executive search process.
Santana Rosen said this is Alma’s first superintendent search, but that the company has experience recruiting for other top leadership positions in school systems in the U.S.
Before Cordova left the district for an administrative position in the Dallas public school system, DPS employees praised her and deputy superintendent for operations Mark Ferrandino for their focus on underserved and minority students in the district.
“One thing I would say is we heard loud and clear … that was very important in the past as we looked at superintendents [was] that they have experience knowing what day to day life is like in the classroom and in our schools, and for the children who walk our halls,” Olson said.
Olson added that once the community engagement process for the superintendent search begins, “I would imagine that we're going to hear that it would be really important to have that understanding of how our policies and our practices at the board level and at the superintendent level play out in our schools and our classrooms across our district.”